Today, Sydera of World of Matticus had an interesting post about her new found respect for melee classes. Normally a healer, she has been doing some heroics and raids on her ret pally. She lists many of the mistakes she has made while playing a radically different role and discusses how her failures have made her a better player.
Some of the things she mentions are specific to hybrids and some of them can be applied to all dps classes, not simply melee. Nonetheless, I found the article interesting. I don’t think melee gets enough credit. Not surprising, since my main character is a rogue.
The very fact that melee classes have to run into range to attack gives them an inherent weakness compared to ranged classes. Not only does this mean that we have less time on target, since we can’t attack as soon as ranged, but most of us also are able to pull aggro faster. When you’re in melee range of a boss, you essentially have a 20% greater chance to pull threat from the tank. Rogues and cat druids have an inherent threat reduction ability, but I always feel sorry for my enhancement shaman and dps warrior friends. There’s a reason they always joke about their threat dump: an untimely death followed by a battle rez of some sort.
Not only are we crippled by the general mechanics of the game, but many boss fights are skewed against melee. Take a look at the three hardest fights in the game at the moment as examples: Kel’thuzad, Malygos, and Sarth+3. In Kel’thuzad, the thing that really hurts melee are the ice tombs. Yes, they hurt casters too and his mana bomb ability is meant to spread the damage to ranged a bit more as well, but the chaining nature of the tomb really hurts melee a lot. If one of us gets hit, half of the melee is eating it as well. Unless your healers are extraordinarily organized and gifted, if you have multiple melee, it’s practically a death sentence for at least one of them. We can’t spread out and that really hurts us in this fight. When guilds are working on the Immortal achievements, it’s not uncommon to run with fewer melee. We’re just a liability for this fight.
On Malygos, of course, the fact that he’s a flying boss lowers our dps a lot. When he casts vortex, most melee are going to be put out of range to do damage while ranged classes are still able to use instant cast spells. Occasionally we’ll get lucky and we’ll be able to continue attacking while in the air, but that’s not the most common scenario. (To be fair, I should mention that combat rogues can use Killing Spree to attack him during one vortex as well.) Also, during the transition from phase one to phase two, Malygos does a nice monologue while floating above the raid. While melee can attack him for a bit during this speech, ranged classes have more time to do so.
Sarth+3 is all about survival and bursting down the drakes. These two factors make this challenging for melee. Survival is easier when we can spread out to avoid the void zones. Not only is there a higher chance that multiple melee will be hit by a void zone, but it’s more difficult for us to see them as well. The area around the drakes tends to be very crowded by melee and pets. This is especially the case when everyone is burning cooldowns to get a drake down during Heroism/Bloodlust. At that point, all summoned pets come out and the small hit box around a drake is insanely crowded. It’s really hard to see a void zone through five melee, six treants, a couple hunter pets, a couple warlock pets and some ghost wolves. On top of all that, the drakes themselves are kind of wonky when the tank is trying to move them and can easily nuke the melee by turning in an unintended direction while breathing.
Well, I suppose that’s enough QQ for one post.
I love being melee and playing a rogue. Really, if it weren’t for the added challenge, I’d probably be kind of bored on many fights. I’ve played ranged classes in the past and it was always much more relaxing than raiding on my rogue. On top of that, most melee abilities are instant cast, which really appeals to the attention-deficit part of my personality.
Just keep in mind that things are typically more difficult on your melee comrades and cut them some slack every now and then, especially when learning new encounters.